Monday, July 23, 2012

Our first ever garage sale at the Highgate Village community garage sale

On Saturday July 21st, we took part in Highgate Village's first community garage sale. Proceeds from the table and parking stall rentals went towards the BC Children's Hospital. We are always in need of decluttering our house so this seemed like a good chance to do it. Community garage sales seem more attractive to those who are looking for good garage sales and since Save-On Foods was hosting it, we figured they would do all the publicizing and advertising for us. We registered and got 1 table to sell our goods.

The morning of the event it rained:( The organizers decided at the last minute to move the setup from the outside parking lot next to the shopping center down to the dark underground parking. We had to setup our tables by 9:30AM because the event started at 10AM. They decided to tuck us all near the back of the parking lot maybe because we wouldn't be so intrusive(??). Very few people came by to check us out. To make matters worst, I only saw one sign that was written on the white board in a faint marker near the entrance to Save-On Foods. Most of the people shopping at Highgate Village just didn't know there was a garage sale taking place underneath. That would be my guess since there were barely anyone walking around.

When the decision was made to setup underground, a very upset vendor told the organizer that no one was going to know we were down here. The vendor tried to get the organizer to allow us to setup upstairs. He said that the weather was predicting sunshine later in the day. The organizer didn't believe it and said it didn't look that way. The organizer was wrong. Shortly after 10AM, the rain stopped and by 10:30AM the sun came out. The sun stayed out the rest of the day. We were already all setup and there was no way we were going to move. Too bad:( The garage sale ended at 2PM and it was a beautiful day when we went outside. Doh!

This was the first year Save-On Foods has hosted a community garage sale to fund-raise. They didn't really know what they were doing but they could have definitely helped out the vendors a bit more. The weather cannot be controlled obviously but they could have helped publicize the event a bit more. Where were the big signs ready to place by all the entrances to the parking lot? Where was the big sign by the hot dog stand at the top they were using to fund-raise? Where was the big banner by the Highgate Village entrance? Why the heck was it not even advertised on their website? Why were we tucked so far back in the dark in the underground parking? The underground parking area by the entrance upstairs got way more traffic than the underground parking further away. Sadly for us we were one of the tables further away:(

Having a community garage sale is a great idea. Unfortunately it wasn't well organized and it hurt both vendors and shoppers. Everything we were selling were $5 or under. I researched about garage sales beforehand to make sure I was setting prices right. Our prices were pretty much right since only one person asked for a lower price. Our main goal at the garage sale was to get rid of our things. If we could make a few dollars in the process, that would be great! This was our first garage sale so it was a bit of an adventure for us. I advertised our sale on craigslist and I tweeted often about it. That might have gotten us a few extra visitors. Things that sold well were children books, toys, and cupcakes. The cupcakes were made to lure people to our table but in the end, at least half our of profit came just from cupcakes! I heard cupcakes and bakes work wonders at garage sales and it's totally true :)

There were a ton of bargains everywhere. It would have been a bargain shopper paradise if people knew about it. We ended up buying a couple of things too:) I was actually joking with the girl next to me saying that we were "negative" since Jean-Louis walked around and bought something before we even made our first sale. There was a table selling lots of DVDs in great condition for just $1. There were also lots of books going for $0.25 to $1. There were over 20 tables and maybe 6 or more parking stalls worth of goods.

We still had an adventure and Tristan got to learn a thing or two about garage sales so there's that :) We explained to Tristan that we were playing store that day. His job was to greet people and ask them if they wanted to try some cupcakes. If someone bought something we would pass him the change and he would give it to them. Despite being in the dark underground for most of the 4 hours, Tristan was really well behaved and was even helpful. I made conversation with a lovely lady at the table next to me. She was by herself and she had a newborn with her. Tristan talked and played with the baby a bit too. To him the baby was like a live doll! So small and so adorable. If it wasn't for good company, I think the garage sale would have been very long and boring.

Most of what we didn't sell, which was maybe 70% of our stuff, ended up being dropped off at the nearby donation center at Value Village. We tested out the garage sale but that didn't work out well but at least we tried, right? Now we know. Maybe things would have been different if the weather was better or if there was more publicity. Weather is such a big factor in these events that I'm pretty sure it would have made a big difference. Unfortunately, we will never know because that was our first and probably last garage sale:(

I don't think garage sales are for us. It's not worth the organizing, time, or even baking. The table rental was $15 so when you consider that we only made $34.57. That's kind of pathetic. Lol. We did it for the experience but now that that is behind us, we don't really have any good reason to hold another garage sale. The big things can be sold on craigslist and the rest will be donated. Our biggest take away from all of this is that it is very hard to sell things, even for $0.25. We will definitely be more careful of what we buy now, especially toys and clothes.


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